10 Free, Must-Have Windows Security Downloads

McAfee SiteAdvisor

The Web is filled with sites that harbor adware, spyware or worse. It can be almost impossible to know ahead of time whether you've visiting such a site. Making matters worse is that many of these sites also have legitimate information and software for download.

McAfee SiteAdvisor is a great way to make sure you steer away from those sites. When you do a search in Google or Yahoo, it places a small icon to the right of each search result, indicating whether the site is safe, questionable or known to be harmful. A red X indicates danger, a green check indicates the site is safe, and a yellow exclamation mark indicates that it's questionable. If McAfee hasn't assessed a particular site, it displays a question mark.

Move your mouse over the icon, and you'll get a pop-up with details about the dangers, including whether it has dangerous downloads, whether it links to other dangerous sites, and whether it will send spam if you register at the site.

Click More Info from the pop-up, and you'll get much more information, including a list of the dangerous downloads and malware or adware that infects it, what sites the site links to and more. It even tells you the site's "annoyances," such as what third-party cookies it installs.

The SiteAdvisor software works even when you don't do a search. As you browse the Web, a small icon sits at the bottom of the screen and tells you whether the site is dangerous or not. Click it to get more information.

CCleaner

CCleaner does double duty: Not only does it help protect your privacy, but it also keeps your system clean and running well. To protect your privacy, it removes traces of your Internet history, such as your temporary Internet files, browsing history, autocomplete form history, and cookies. In addition, it cleans Windows' Recent History list.

It's great at cleaning your system as well. CCleaner gets rid of many different kinds of unneeded files, such as temporary files, Windows log files, chkdsk file fragments and a lot more. It can also check your Registry and clean it of bad or broken entries and help you stop programs from running on start-up.

For anyone who wants to keep their browsing life private — and keep their system clean and running smoothly — this is a must-have download.

What's your favorite free Windows security software? Let us know in the article comments.

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